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Inputs and Outputs

Why don't the inputs equal the outputs?

The amount of toxics that are manufactured, processed or otherwise used are the input amounts in a facility's production process. The amounts of toxics that are generated as byproduct, shipped in product or are released or transferred from the facility are the output amounts of a facility's production process.

It seems logical that the amount of a toxic input should be the same as the amount that is output. However, this may not be the case for several reasons:

1) The chemical is consumed or transformed into another chemical (which may or may not be on the list).

For example, if an acid is used in a process but during that process it is neutralized, it is no longer an acid and therefore it is not a reportable material. In this case, there would be a quantity reported as processed but there would be zero pounds of output (byproduct, shipped in product, or emissions).

2) The chemical is a compound.

Companies have to report the total weight of the compound in the manufactured, processed or otherwise used categories (the inputs). However, for the byproduct, shipped in product and emissions categories (the outputs), companies only report the weight of that part of the compound that is the chemical constituent of concern.

3) The chemical is recycled on-site.

Because of the way the TURA law was written, if a chemical is recycled on-site, the amount recycled and reused has to be counted each time it is cycled through. For example, suppose a company puts 10,000 lbs of solvent into a production process. After a while, the 10,000 lbs is taken out, put through a recycling process to get rid of impurities and then put back into the production process. If the solvent is recycled and put back into the production process nine times before being discarded, the company has to report as byproduct 100,000 lbs of solvent (10,000 lbs originally added and 10,000 times 9 times recycled). However, only 10,000 lbs of solvent were originally used so the use is only 10,000 lbs.